One on one with Messier

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:49 PM ET

Your life has changed an awful lot since you used to hang your hat here. Does Edmonton still feel like home?

It feels exactly like home, it always will be. I spent the majority of my life here. Although it's changed here physically, it's still the same feelings and the same city.

I got a sense of that coming back in the playoffs last year with the Oilers going to the finals and seeing the people in the streets.

It's always going to be home. It's where I grew up, learned to play hockey and it's those life lessons that I was able to take with me when I left here that proved to be invaluable, and you never forget that.

To have the fans involved as much as they will be must be special. But to have your teammates involved as much as they will be, how much does that mean to you?

Of course that's collectively why we're all here today. We came to Edmonton as a group of individuals and became a team that was more than just successful.

But because we came here all the same age and we were all young kids that got to play a professional sport, we got to know each other and like each other and got to experience something that very few players will probably ever get to experience in any particular sport.

Winning five Cups in seven years is an amazing feat, and it may never be repeated in today's game.

Can you take us back to the draft in 1979 and the fact that the Oilers saw something in you that a few other teams that had a chance to draft you didn't see?

If you believe in fate, you start thinking that way, but I wasn't the only one. Glenn Anderson was second or third round. Jari Kurri was a late pick. There were a lot of guys that weren't drafted in the first round.

When you really think about it there were a lot of players in that first three- or four-year span that weren't first-round draft picks. That is one of the most unbelievable things of all.

We came out of nowhere and they surrounded us with a lot of veteran leadership.

But at the time nobody thought a lot of those players would go on to have the careers that we had, let alone us getting together and winning all those Cups.

Were you a gamble?

Probably. Even to this day when you're drafting players that late, you're drafting for character, for size, for guys that you think will grow into the type of player they are.

Does it mean something to you to be able to interact with the fans - for them to be part of it?

It was one thing to be born and raised in Edmonton. But there was strong feeling in the relationship with the players and the community.

I think that harmony is instrumental in any franchise to be successful.

Looking back I really believe that's why we had the success in Edmonton. Not only back then, but also look at last year. The people here feel responsible and part of the team.

You feel it so powerfully. One of the things that drove us to those Cups was not the fear of losing, but the feeling of responsibility of not letting those people down as well.

We wanted to win for us, but then there was also that fear of losing, of disappointing and then to have to suffer the consequences of living inside the community if we didn't win.

With such a group of young guys, how did Glen Sather handle all of that?

I grew up in an era which was the Broad Street Bullies and very, very tough hockey. I played my minor hockey and junior hockey under those terms.

But right around the same time there we started to get an influence from the Europeans. And Glen, having had some experience with those players, he really got to see the beauty and the skill and the speed the game could be played at.

If you had to really say one thing about Glen it is that he really had a vision of the way he wanted the game to be played with the Oilers.

And the way he was able to do that was having an expansion team and to have a lot of really young players that were good skaters and all those things.

*Questions and answers edited for brevity


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